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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

ROMANCE WITH CHAOYUN                   319

"In Memoriam" expressed his deep regret that her child had died
young and that, unfortunately, there was no magic to stay the march
of time. For his funeral gift, he could only extend the comfort of a
Hinayana prayer. She had come to this world perhaps to pay a debt
; she had owed in a previous life, and now, in the twinkling of an eye,
she had departed, perhaps for a better life hereafter. The saint's pagoda
was near-by, and every night at dusk she could go and seek solace in
the holy companionship.

Previously Su Tungpo had written three exquisite poems that dis-
played his full poetic powers on two plum trees near the Pine Wind
Pavilion. In October of that year the plum flower blossomed again.
Once more he wrote a poem on the flower, using it clearly as a symbol
of Chaoyun, now lying in the grave. The symbol was appropriate be-
cause the white flower in the glamour of the moonlight had always
been spoken of as a white-gowned fairy, dim and hazy in appearance
and hardly to be associated with the life of the common world. He
clothed the poem in such language that it could be read both as a poem
to the flower and as a poem in honour of the woman he loved.

"Bones of jade, flesh of snow,
May thy ethereal spirit stand unafraid,
Though the dark mist and the swamp wind blow.
May the sea sprites attend thee,
The paroquets and cockatoos befriend thee.
Thy white face doth powder spurn;
Vermilion must yet from thy lips learn.
Flesh of snow, bones of jade,
Dream thy dreams, peerless one.
Not for this world thou art made."

Feng Lake had been Su Tungpo's favourite picnic ground. After her
burial, he could not bear to visit it again. He had buried her in holy
ground, and the fish sanctuary they had built together below would be
a comforting sight for her spirit to look upon.

From now on, Su Tungpo lived as a widower. His house was com-
pleted in February of the following year, his orchard was planted, the
well was dug, and Mai had brought Kuo's family and his own to
Huichow. The second son, Tai, had remained with his family at Ishing
because Su Tungpo had placed high hopes on him and wanted him to
prepare for the imperial examinations. Along with two sons and
daughters-in-law came three grandchildren, two children belonging to
Mai, and one belonging to Kuo. The eldest grandson was already
twenty and married, while the second grandson, Fu, was of marriage-
able age and Su Tungpo arranged to have him married to one of